By Akbar Mammadov
President Ilham Aliyev has said that Azerbaijan has always shown constructiveness in peace talks but negotiations have been disrupted due to series of demonstrative provocations by the Armenian leadership in recent years.
Aliyev made the remarks in an interview with the Rossiya-1 TV channel on September 29.
“Azerbaijan has always shown constructiveness on the negotiation track. And the co-chairs of the Minsk Group, who are responsible for the mediation mission, can confirm this. In particular, over the past two years, we have repeatedly stated, both myself and other officials, that we are committed to the principles of settlement that have been developed over the years and which the Minsk Group and its co-chairs consider the basis for the negotiating process.”
“But what has been happening in recent years, after the Soros coup which was carried out by the current government in Armenia? The Armenian prime minister publicly declares that Karabakh is Armenia, full stop. In this case, what kind of negotiations can we talk about?”
Aliyev said that by trying to undermine the format of negotiations that has already existed for 20 years, Armenia deliberately disrupts the negotiations and puts forward unacceptable demands.
Aliyev reminded that Armenia attacked Azerbaijani position on the border Tovuz region in July, sent a sabotage group to Azerbaijan in August.
Among Armenia’s other provocations, Aliyev cited the holding of the so-called swearing-in ceremony for the so-called leader of the criminal Nagorno-Karabakh regime in Shusha, an ancient pearl of Azerbaijani culture.
“Then the Armenian side publicly and defiantly announced the resettlement of Armenians from Lebanon to the occupied territories and to our ancient Azerbaijani city of Shusha, which is a war crime. This is a violation of the Geneva Convention,” Aliyev said.
All these are deliberate provocations against us, attempts to drag us into conflict and provoke retaliatory actions, Aliyev said.
The president further spoke about Armenia’s attack on Azerbaijani positions along the line of contact on September 27, saying that for three days, they have been bombing the settlements of Nagorno-Karabakh using artillery and multiple launch rocket systems.
Aliyev pointed out that fierce battles have been going on for three days now, as a result of which the Azerbaijani Army has liberated a number of settlements from occupation and also seized strategic heights in different directions. He said that today the situation is such that active hostilities are underway.
Commenting on allegations circulated in the Armenian media about engagement of fighters from other countries in the fighting on the line of contact, Aliyev said that Azerbaijan is able to stand up for itself.
“This is more fake news. There are no fighters from Syria. There is no evidence, no proof. This has been introduced by Armenian propaganda and circulates through different websites and different media. There is no need for this. Azerbaijan has a trained army and a very large mobilization reserve. Just yesterday, I announced partial mobilization, we are calling tens of thousands of reservists under arms, and with a population of 10 million versus 2 million in Armenia we have no need for human resources. Therefore, we are able to stand up for ourselves and punish the aggressor so that he doesn’t venture even to look in our direction.
The president also answered the question about the role of Turkey in the region.
“I believe that Turkey is playing a stabilizing role in the region. Turkey is our brotherly country and our ally. From the very first hour, the world community learned that Armenia attacked Azerbaijan, Turkey spoke out unequivocally at the level of the head of state and other leaders in support of Azerbaijan, in support of international law.”
Stressing that Armenia has grossly violated international law by occupying the territory of Azerbaijan for about 30 years, Aliyev underlined that so the role of Turkey consists in that, nothing else.
“Turkey provides us with moral support, and we are grateful to the Turkish leadership, the President and the Turkish people for their solidarity and support. Turkey does not participate in this conflict in any other capacity. All the rumours that Turkey is participating as a party to the conflict being circulated by the Armenian side are of provocative nature. As they say now, this is fake news.”
Aliyev also highlighted that there is no evidence of Turkey's involvement in the conflict and neither is that necessary.
Regarding the reason for the large-scale confrontation in the front, the president stressed that Armenia had been moving towards this for several months.
“If you trace the chronology of their actions and statements, you will clearly see that they deliberately went for this provocation. Not so long ago, speaking at the UN General Assembly, I openly said that Armenia was preparing for war and it must be stopped. In July, they launched an armed attack on our settlements at the state border. This is far from the conflict zone. One civilian and several servicemen were killed then. The clashes lasted four days, and since we did not have and do not have any military targets on the territory of Armenia, as soon as the Armenian armed forces were driven back from our territory, the fire was ceased by mutual agreement.”
Moreover, Aliyev reminded that a sabotage group infiltrated the Azerbaijani territory and was neutralized. He added that then Armenia publicly and defiantly announced the resettlement of Armenians from Lebanon to the occupied territories and to the ancient Azerbaijani city of Shusha, which is a war crime.
He stressed that this is a violation of the Geneva Convention and is done demonstratively.
“Prior to that, they held the so-called swearing-in ceremony for the so-called leader of the criminal Nagorno-Karabakh regime in Shusha, an ancient pearl of Azerbaijani culture. All these are deliberate provocations against us, attempts to drag us into conflict and provoke retaliatory actions. We showed restraint, constructiveness and common sense, but when they failed, they made this attempt,” Aliyev said.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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